The Best Way to Sharpen a Pocket Knife

A person who loves the outdoors will probably always carry a pocket knife with them. Whether it’s for cooking meals, cutting rope, or a relaxing whittling hobby. However, the blade will eventually become dull with repeated use. Therefore, it is useful to have an understanding of the fundamental sharpening methods to keep your knife in tip-top condition. You can avoid the cost of taking your pocket knife to a professional by using a several handy tools.

Different Types Of Knife Sharpening

Today, pocket knife sharpening has taken on many forms. There are a plethora of videos and guides that explain the different ways of sharpening, along with an equally broad range of products on the market. Some sharpening gadgets cost as little as $5 while other high-tech devices can cost as much as $1000 and more!

Naturally, there is no right or wrong way to sharpen your pocket knife. Ultimately, it comes down to what feels most comfortable to you. Moreover, a specific type of sharpening technique will not be suitable for every knife. Knives have their own uniqueness and require a unique approach when it comes to care and maintenance.

The Minimum Tools Required For A Perfectly Sharpened Pocketknife

All you need is a good sharpening stone or whetstone and some sharpening lubricant or water. There are all types of fancy sharpening tools; however, we’re sticking to the basics here. Knives have been sharpened with just these two tools for thousands of years. It’s like trying to re-invent the wheel. Is it really necessary? Below you will find instruction on how to sharpen a pocket knife in the simplest manner possible.

How To Sharpen A Pocket Knife

  1. Purchase or rent a whetstone or sharpening stone. These can be found at your nearby hardware store. Select a stone with two sides; rough grit on one and fine grit on the other. You will need both, as the rough side does the sharpening and the fine side hones the blade.
  2. Use a lubricant on the rough side of the whetstone. The lubricant should be a mineral-oil based sharpening oil. Stores that carry whetstones will more than likely carry this type of lubricant as well. The lubricant will lessen the heat that results from friction on your pocketknife blade. Additionally, the stone will remain free of dirt while you are sharpening your pocketknife.
  3. Lift your pocketknife to a 15-degree angle from the stone’s surface. Keep in mind, holding the knife at a certain degree will determine its sharpness so you should fine-tune the angle of your pocketknife to fit your own needs. Keep the knife steady at this angle, as tilting it when sharpening can damage the blade.
  4. Press lightly on the surface of the whetstone and stroke the blade against at a consistent angle. You can move the blade toward or away from you, it’s a personal decision.
  5. Press lightly on the whetstone’s surface again using the other side of the blade. Move each side of the blade in six to twelve strokes. The number of movements will depend on how sharp you want your pocketknife to be.
  6. Turn your whetstone onto the fine-grit side, and press the blade against the stone using mild pressure. Stroke the blade over the stone six to twelve times.
  7. Check to see if your pocketknife is as sharp as you prefer by running the blade over something extremely fine like blades of grass. If the edge is razor-sharp, it will easily cut the grass blades. Be sure to run the blade over the top of the grass blades. When holding your blade up against the light and you still see a sparkle or reflection, your blade is still dull and will require additional sharpening.

Some people recommend moving the newly sharpened blade over the hair on your arms; however, this may only work if you have very hairy arms. In fact, it could be dangerous and is only recommended to those who are experienced with knife sharpening.

Additional Pocket Knife Sharpening Tips

Remember that freehand style knife sharpening is a skill. It takes plenty of practice to perfect and if you are not too good at it, your knife will be worse off. It is suggested that you start out with one of your least prized pocketknives. Once you are sure about your technique, you can sharpen your good pocket knife.

Using the identical angle each time is more important than a specific angle. Additionally, any small steel particles remaining on your sharpening stone will lead to rust if not cleaned correctly.

Nonetheless, if you’ve tried everything you can and you find you’re still no good at pocketknife sharpening; there are plenty of instruments that will do the job for you. Doing an online search will help you find an adequate pocketknife sharpening device that will suit your needs and not harm your budget.